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Indonesia Passes Long Awaited Bill Towards Eliminating Sexual Violence

12 April 2022: Indonesia has passed the sexual violence bill into law a decade after it was first proposed. The final draft of the law criminalises physical sexual abuse, both in marriage and outside, sexual exploitation, forced marriage, including child marriage, and circulating non-consensual sexual content, amongst others. It also stipulates that a court must compel convicted abusers to pay restitution and authorities to provide counselling to victims.

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Generation Equality Forum
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| 10 September 2021

Generation Equality Forum: Open Letter to UN Women

International Planned Parenthood Federation East & South East Asia and Oceania Region (IPPF ESEAOR), Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA), and Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) sent an open letter to UN Women on behalf of 92 civil society organizations based and/or working in the Asia and the Pacific to express concerns about the accessibility and inclusivity of the Paris Generation Equality Forum (GEF). This open letter is an outcome action from a regional civil society debrief following the Paris GEF, and developed through a consultative process. We welcome conversations with UN Women to establish inclusive and accessible channels of engagement and means of support for Generation Equality as we focus on implementation and accountability. Our open letter: English version with the full list of signatories, Bahasa Indonesia, Japanese, Mandarin, Hindi   Asia Pacific Sign On Letter: Accountability for the GEF Commitments and Civil Society Engagement We write to you as 92 intersectional feminist civil society (CS) organizations based and working in Asia and the Pacific. We are encouraged by the recent Generation Equality Forum (GEF) opportunity to build momentum and strengthen commitments to gender equality and empowerment across the globe. We are pleased to see 40 billion USD raised from multiple stakeholders towards this goal and towards achieving the targets and commitments of the GEF Action Coalition (AC) blueprints. However, we wish to express our strong concern that Asia and the Pacific was not prioritized, with a lack of engagement and a lack of resources for the region in the GEF and its development. Asia Pacific is home to the world's largest population, with over 60% of the world's youth. It is the most vulnerable to climate-related disasters, disproportionately affecting women and marginalized groups. Almost 40% of women in South-East Asia and up to 68% of women in the Pacific experience sexual and gender-based violence from intimate partners [1]. The Pacific region has some of the lowest rates of women in national legislative bodies across the globe. GEF was envisioned as a space to position some of these issues with our governments and we expected the Paris Forum would provide a platform to raise our critical collective advocacy issues. Yet, we observed that no government from Asia or the Pacific took part in the Paris opening or closing ceremonies; feminist leadership was not well represented throughout the forum and specific groups like sex workers and trans people were excluded. This is a huge missed opportunity to advance the gender equality agenda across our region and accurately represent global Generation Equality realities. We call urgent attention to the disappointing lack of financial commitments at GEF to the Feminist Action and Climate Justice AC, as Asia and the Pacific are already dealing daily with massive loss and damage from the climate and ecological emergency [2]. We are also deeply concerned about the lack of accessibility of the online platform – the timing and languages of GEF events posed a barrier for feminists from our region, and the platform technology didn’t take into account accessibility from regions far away from Europe. There was an unacceptable lack of disability-related accessibility, including sign language interpretation, closed captioning or screen reader accessibility (in multiple languages). Language is a substantial barrier to participation for women, girls and others who do not understand either English or French. The GEF Paris platform did not work well overall, and many sessions were severely disrupted by buffering, moderator issues, back-end technical staff being overheard during the sessions, and other technical issues. If Generation Equality truly seeks to be more inclusive, such barriers must be removed. Without guaranteeing the participation of those marginalized by ableism, heteronormativity, patriarchy and colonial legacies, we shall never achieve gender equality, and “leaving no one behind” will simply be empty rhetoric. The GEF must adhere to and exemplify the core AC principles of “intersectionality, feminist leadership and transformation”. In moving the process forward, we shall continue to engage in good faith but require increased accountability and transparency in content, structure and process. We feel that by working collectively, we can ensure that countries in Asia and the Pacific are mobilized to build momentum for gender equality, and ensure accountability for GEF commitments and ensure they are speedily devolved to grassroots, indigenous and local women and feminist-led groups, on the ground. We recommend: Transforming the Action Coalitions into inclusive Communities of Practice with full accessibility, and establishing regional Communities of Practice with resources for regional UN offices and development institutions to support engagement of intersectional feminists and women in all their diversity, including those in urban poor, informal settlements, rural and maritime areas, sex workers, LGBTQI+, non-binary people and people living with disabilities, from across the region; Making available adequate, sustainable and flexible funding to civil society, feminist, women, community and grass-roots, and youth-led organisations; Establishing a strong and effective accountability framework at regional, national and global levels by the end of the year to monitor commitments made by all AC leaders and commitment-makers; Engaging with intersectional feminists and civil society groups in the region to advocate with governments, regional development institutions and funders to properly resource and implement a robust and inclusive accountability framework that evaluates transformative impact at the grassroots level; Urgent fundraising by GEF for the work of the Feminist Action and Climate Justice AC, and a global cross-AC campaign to increase political will on climate change, ecological and gender equality; Strengthening engagement with multi-stakeholder groups across the region as the GEF process continues to be planned and implemented, including all future fora and accountability mechanisms, to ensure that no one in our region is left out in the future. We look forward to shared leadership and action in ensuring that GEF Commitments and the ACs advance gender equality and support the realization of women’s human rights for an equal, just, peaceful and ecologically sustainable future across all regions of the world, including Asia and the Pacific. [1] The World Health Organization, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and South African Medical Research Council (2013). ‘Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence’ p 16, 20 [2] The lack of political will and financial commitments belies CEDAW General Recommendation 37 (2018) which acknowledges that climate change is a core women’s human rights issue, linked to all aspects of socio-economic and environmental rights, gender-based violence, conflict, migration and displacement. Read our Media Release

Generation Equality Forum
news_item

| 10 September 2021

Generation Equality Forum: Open Letter to UN Women

International Planned Parenthood Federation East & South East Asia and Oceania Region (IPPF ESEAOR), Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA), and Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) sent an open letter to UN Women on behalf of 92 civil society organizations based and/or working in the Asia and the Pacific to express concerns about the accessibility and inclusivity of the Paris Generation Equality Forum (GEF). This open letter is an outcome action from a regional civil society debrief following the Paris GEF, and developed through a consultative process. We welcome conversations with UN Women to establish inclusive and accessible channels of engagement and means of support for Generation Equality as we focus on implementation and accountability. Our open letter: English version with the full list of signatories, Bahasa Indonesia, Japanese, Mandarin, Hindi   Asia Pacific Sign On Letter: Accountability for the GEF Commitments and Civil Society Engagement We write to you as 92 intersectional feminist civil society (CS) organizations based and working in Asia and the Pacific. We are encouraged by the recent Generation Equality Forum (GEF) opportunity to build momentum and strengthen commitments to gender equality and empowerment across the globe. We are pleased to see 40 billion USD raised from multiple stakeholders towards this goal and towards achieving the targets and commitments of the GEF Action Coalition (AC) blueprints. However, we wish to express our strong concern that Asia and the Pacific was not prioritized, with a lack of engagement and a lack of resources for the region in the GEF and its development. Asia Pacific is home to the world's largest population, with over 60% of the world's youth. It is the most vulnerable to climate-related disasters, disproportionately affecting women and marginalized groups. Almost 40% of women in South-East Asia and up to 68% of women in the Pacific experience sexual and gender-based violence from intimate partners [1]. The Pacific region has some of the lowest rates of women in national legislative bodies across the globe. GEF was envisioned as a space to position some of these issues with our governments and we expected the Paris Forum would provide a platform to raise our critical collective advocacy issues. Yet, we observed that no government from Asia or the Pacific took part in the Paris opening or closing ceremonies; feminist leadership was not well represented throughout the forum and specific groups like sex workers and trans people were excluded. This is a huge missed opportunity to advance the gender equality agenda across our region and accurately represent global Generation Equality realities. We call urgent attention to the disappointing lack of financial commitments at GEF to the Feminist Action and Climate Justice AC, as Asia and the Pacific are already dealing daily with massive loss and damage from the climate and ecological emergency [2]. We are also deeply concerned about the lack of accessibility of the online platform – the timing and languages of GEF events posed a barrier for feminists from our region, and the platform technology didn’t take into account accessibility from regions far away from Europe. There was an unacceptable lack of disability-related accessibility, including sign language interpretation, closed captioning or screen reader accessibility (in multiple languages). Language is a substantial barrier to participation for women, girls and others who do not understand either English or French. The GEF Paris platform did not work well overall, and many sessions were severely disrupted by buffering, moderator issues, back-end technical staff being overheard during the sessions, and other technical issues. If Generation Equality truly seeks to be more inclusive, such barriers must be removed. Without guaranteeing the participation of those marginalized by ableism, heteronormativity, patriarchy and colonial legacies, we shall never achieve gender equality, and “leaving no one behind” will simply be empty rhetoric. The GEF must adhere to and exemplify the core AC principles of “intersectionality, feminist leadership and transformation”. In moving the process forward, we shall continue to engage in good faith but require increased accountability and transparency in content, structure and process. We feel that by working collectively, we can ensure that countries in Asia and the Pacific are mobilized to build momentum for gender equality, and ensure accountability for GEF commitments and ensure they are speedily devolved to grassroots, indigenous and local women and feminist-led groups, on the ground. We recommend: Transforming the Action Coalitions into inclusive Communities of Practice with full accessibility, and establishing regional Communities of Practice with resources for regional UN offices and development institutions to support engagement of intersectional feminists and women in all their diversity, including those in urban poor, informal settlements, rural and maritime areas, sex workers, LGBTQI+, non-binary people and people living with disabilities, from across the region; Making available adequate, sustainable and flexible funding to civil society, feminist, women, community and grass-roots, and youth-led organisations; Establishing a strong and effective accountability framework at regional, national and global levels by the end of the year to monitor commitments made by all AC leaders and commitment-makers; Engaging with intersectional feminists and civil society groups in the region to advocate with governments, regional development institutions and funders to properly resource and implement a robust and inclusive accountability framework that evaluates transformative impact at the grassroots level; Urgent fundraising by GEF for the work of the Feminist Action and Climate Justice AC, and a global cross-AC campaign to increase political will on climate change, ecological and gender equality; Strengthening engagement with multi-stakeholder groups across the region as the GEF process continues to be planned and implemented, including all future fora and accountability mechanisms, to ensure that no one in our region is left out in the future. We look forward to shared leadership and action in ensuring that GEF Commitments and the ACs advance gender equality and support the realization of women’s human rights for an equal, just, peaceful and ecologically sustainable future across all regions of the world, including Asia and the Pacific. [1] The World Health Organization, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and South African Medical Research Council (2013). ‘Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence’ p 16, 20 [2] The lack of political will and financial commitments belies CEDAW General Recommendation 37 (2018) which acknowledges that climate change is a core women’s human rights issue, linked to all aspects of socio-economic and environmental rights, gender-based violence, conflict, migration and displacement. Read our Media Release

Generation Equality Forum
news item

| 10 September 2021

Media Release: Asia-Pacific Feminists Call for Inclusion and Accountability in GEF

September 9, 2021 - 92 intersectional feminist civil society (CS) organizations based and working in Asia and the Pacific have released an open letter seeking inclusion and accountability in the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) process. Addressed to UN Women, the statement cites the “lack of engagement and resources provided for the region in the GEF and its development”. The Generation Equality Forum which culminated in Paris last June 30-July 2 did not feature any government representatives from Asia-Pacific nor did it have enough representation from groups like sex workers and trans people. “We fear that the de-prioritization of the largest region in the world will result in missed opportunities to advance the gender equality agenda,” said Natassha Kaur of the International Planned Parenthood Federation East & South East Asia and Oceania Region (IPPF ESEAOR). The statement also cited concerns about the lack of accessibility of the GEF online platform. “We were faced with barriers that are not only due to the technology-related challenges but also because of the timing and language”, said Marevic Parcon of the Philippine-based Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR). The feminists provided recommendations as to ways forward for the GEF process. These include establishing regional communities that collaborate with regional UN offices and support engagement of intersectional feminists and women in all their diversity; establishing a strong and effective accountability framework at regional, national and global levels; engaging with intersectional feminists and civil society groups to properly resource and implement a robust and inclusive accountability framework that evaluates transformative impact at the grassroots level; and strengthening engagement with multi-stakeholder groups across the region as the GEF process continues to be planned and implemented. Climate Justice also merited its own recommendation with the feminists asking for “urgent fundraising” to fund a global campaign to increase political will on climate change, ecological and gender equality. The Asia-Pacific region is the most vulnerable to climate-related disasters, disproportionately affecting women and marginalized groups, according to the statement. “Notwithstanding our concerns, as intersectional feminists, we ask UN Women to provide space for CSOs to strengthen the GEF commitments. We will continue to engage in good faith but we will seek increased accountability and transparency in content, structure, and process,” said Alexandra Johns of the Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, a Bangkok-based SRHR network.   Media Contacts: Malaysia: Natassha Kaur | [email protected] Philippines: Shiphrah Belonguel | [email protected] Thailand: Alexandra Johns | [email protected]

Generation Equality Forum
news_item

| 10 September 2021

Media Release: Asia-Pacific Feminists Call for Inclusion and Accountability in GEF

September 9, 2021 - 92 intersectional feminist civil society (CS) organizations based and working in Asia and the Pacific have released an open letter seeking inclusion and accountability in the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) process. Addressed to UN Women, the statement cites the “lack of engagement and resources provided for the region in the GEF and its development”. The Generation Equality Forum which culminated in Paris last June 30-July 2 did not feature any government representatives from Asia-Pacific nor did it have enough representation from groups like sex workers and trans people. “We fear that the de-prioritization of the largest region in the world will result in missed opportunities to advance the gender equality agenda,” said Natassha Kaur of the International Planned Parenthood Federation East & South East Asia and Oceania Region (IPPF ESEAOR). The statement also cited concerns about the lack of accessibility of the GEF online platform. “We were faced with barriers that are not only due to the technology-related challenges but also because of the timing and language”, said Marevic Parcon of the Philippine-based Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR). The feminists provided recommendations as to ways forward for the GEF process. These include establishing regional communities that collaborate with regional UN offices and support engagement of intersectional feminists and women in all their diversity; establishing a strong and effective accountability framework at regional, national and global levels; engaging with intersectional feminists and civil society groups to properly resource and implement a robust and inclusive accountability framework that evaluates transformative impact at the grassroots level; and strengthening engagement with multi-stakeholder groups across the region as the GEF process continues to be planned and implemented. Climate Justice also merited its own recommendation with the feminists asking for “urgent fundraising” to fund a global campaign to increase political will on climate change, ecological and gender equality. The Asia-Pacific region is the most vulnerable to climate-related disasters, disproportionately affecting women and marginalized groups, according to the statement. “Notwithstanding our concerns, as intersectional feminists, we ask UN Women to provide space for CSOs to strengthen the GEF commitments. We will continue to engage in good faith but we will seek increased accountability and transparency in content, structure, and process,” said Alexandra Johns of the Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, a Bangkok-based SRHR network.   Media Contacts: Malaysia: Natassha Kaur | [email protected] Philippines: Shiphrah Belonguel | [email protected] Thailand: Alexandra Johns | [email protected]

France’s president, Emmanuel Macron (centre), during a discussion at the Generation Equality Forum opening ceremony with (from left): Shantel Marekera, GEF Youth Taskforce; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women; UN Secretary-General, António Guterres; and President of the European Council, Charles Michel.
news item

| 09 July 2021

The Generation Equality Forum: A New Chapter in Gender Equality

Written by: Ipsita Dwivedi and Kanae Inage, Interns, IPPF ESEAOR, 2021 After nearly two (2) years of preparation, the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) finally took place on 30 June – 2 July in Paris, France. In the last 25 years since the Beijing Platform for Action, our society has changed a lot, but we still face gender inequality, discrimination, and stigmatisation in every corner of the world. Also, under the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the countries face unpredictable difficulties. Now, it is time to rethink how we can develop our society, and this three-day Forum might give you some insightful takeaway. The Present is Feminist In this forum, many female leaders and youth activists emerged as champions and pioneers of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). In the opening ceremony, US Vice President Kamala Harris also emphasised the importance of democracy, inclusiveness, as well as reproductive health. "When women have access to reproductive health care to stay healthy, they can participate more fully, and our democracy grows stronger." Young feminists and activists and the rise of youth organisations stood out in the sessions. Their open mindset successfully challenged the existing gender and sexuality binaries, eventually introducing more inclusive approaches. Under the pandemic with limited access to the resources, they have utilised the digital platform efficiently and communicated with them through diverse ways: podcast, zine, and online webinars. Accessibility, Inclusivity and Diversity Challenges at the Forum The three days were packed with various events on every possible topic in relation to gender equality. However, as participants, we did face many technical difficulties accessing the online forum. There were issues with the translations, unavailability of closed captions and slow servers. Many people were not given access to their accounts till the very last moment which reflected the slow response of the administration. To tackle this, youth and feminist organisations hosted Zoom Parties to make the events more inclusive and open. We also observed a lack of diversity in the selection of speakers. The sessions lacked representation from East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. This was also observed in the commitments, as very few Asia Pacific nations committed to Generation Equality. The Forum also lacked representation from certain marginalised communities such as trans persons and gender diverse persons, and sex workers. This was also reflected in the language of the panellists which was very gender binary and heteronormative. Irrespective of these challenges, the GEF did make us hopeful. The enthusiasm and passion of youth feminists and advocates promise us a brighter and intersectional future. We must ensure to Leave No One Behind.     Building an Intersectional Future The GEF concluded with world leaders committing 40 billion USD for gender equality. The COVID-19 pandemic emerged as a moment of reckoning as many world leaders doubled their investment for gender equality. It also launched the Global Acceleration Plan to advance gender equality by 2026 designed by the six Action Coalitions for the rapid advancement of gender equality. Another key outcome of the Forum is the Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action (WPS-HA) Compact that sets out to systematically and meaningfully include women and girls in peace and security and humanitarian processes. With over 50,000 participants, the GEF provided us with a space to exchange ideas and learn new ways of advocacy, and communications. Many success stories inspired and motivated us to continue our fight for gender equality. “The Generation Equality Forum marks a positive, historic shift in power and perspective” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. Throughout the programme, governments, women’s, feminist and youth-led organizations, international organizations, foundations and the private sector made their commitments. For example, UNFPA committed the development of SRHR in several East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific countries: 1) Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Laos & Philippines, 2) access to contraceptive services in Cambodia, Lao, People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Pacific Island Countries, Papua New Guinea, and 3) end female genital mutilation in Indonesia. Here, as a leader of SRHR, IPPF commits to work to accelerate universal access to safe abortion care centred on three principles: rights-based, reproductive justice and gender transformative. IPPF will also work with the Governments of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands to help realize universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights and CSE. What does the future look like? In the words of Dr Alvaro Bermejo, IPPF Director General, “…we want the GEF to be more than just an alliance committing to a set of beautiful and progressive words. We want action to make a difference in everyone’s life, especially the most forgotten women, adolescents and girls. And for that, we need a solid Accountability Framework, where all commitment makers report progress periodically. We want to develop effective monitoring mechanisms, to make sure that the GEF does not become a mere bouquet of empty promises.”   Sources: https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2021/7/news-gef-paris-action-coalitions-launch-commitments-for-gender-equality https://www.ippf.org/news/ippf-announces-new-commitments-sexual-and-reproductive-health-and-rights-srhr-generation https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/jun/30/billions-pledged-to-tackle-gender-inequality-at-un-forum

France’s president, Emmanuel Macron (centre), during a discussion at the Generation Equality Forum opening ceremony with (from left): Shantel Marekera, GEF Youth Taskforce; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women; UN Secretary-General, António Guterres; and President of the European Council, Charles Michel.
news_item

| 09 July 2021

The Generation Equality Forum: A New Chapter in Gender Equality

Written by: Ipsita Dwivedi and Kanae Inage, Interns, IPPF ESEAOR, 2021 After nearly two (2) years of preparation, the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) finally took place on 30 June – 2 July in Paris, France. In the last 25 years since the Beijing Platform for Action, our society has changed a lot, but we still face gender inequality, discrimination, and stigmatisation in every corner of the world. Also, under the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the countries face unpredictable difficulties. Now, it is time to rethink how we can develop our society, and this three-day Forum might give you some insightful takeaway. The Present is Feminist In this forum, many female leaders and youth activists emerged as champions and pioneers of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). In the opening ceremony, US Vice President Kamala Harris also emphasised the importance of democracy, inclusiveness, as well as reproductive health. "When women have access to reproductive health care to stay healthy, they can participate more fully, and our democracy grows stronger." Young feminists and activists and the rise of youth organisations stood out in the sessions. Their open mindset successfully challenged the existing gender and sexuality binaries, eventually introducing more inclusive approaches. Under the pandemic with limited access to the resources, they have utilised the digital platform efficiently and communicated with them through diverse ways: podcast, zine, and online webinars. Accessibility, Inclusivity and Diversity Challenges at the Forum The three days were packed with various events on every possible topic in relation to gender equality. However, as participants, we did face many technical difficulties accessing the online forum. There were issues with the translations, unavailability of closed captions and slow servers. Many people were not given access to their accounts till the very last moment which reflected the slow response of the administration. To tackle this, youth and feminist organisations hosted Zoom Parties to make the events more inclusive and open. We also observed a lack of diversity in the selection of speakers. The sessions lacked representation from East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. This was also observed in the commitments, as very few Asia Pacific nations committed to Generation Equality. The Forum also lacked representation from certain marginalised communities such as trans persons and gender diverse persons, and sex workers. This was also reflected in the language of the panellists which was very gender binary and heteronormative. Irrespective of these challenges, the GEF did make us hopeful. The enthusiasm and passion of youth feminists and advocates promise us a brighter and intersectional future. We must ensure to Leave No One Behind.     Building an Intersectional Future The GEF concluded with world leaders committing 40 billion USD for gender equality. The COVID-19 pandemic emerged as a moment of reckoning as many world leaders doubled their investment for gender equality. It also launched the Global Acceleration Plan to advance gender equality by 2026 designed by the six Action Coalitions for the rapid advancement of gender equality. Another key outcome of the Forum is the Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action (WPS-HA) Compact that sets out to systematically and meaningfully include women and girls in peace and security and humanitarian processes. With over 50,000 participants, the GEF provided us with a space to exchange ideas and learn new ways of advocacy, and communications. Many success stories inspired and motivated us to continue our fight for gender equality. “The Generation Equality Forum marks a positive, historic shift in power and perspective” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. Throughout the programme, governments, women’s, feminist and youth-led organizations, international organizations, foundations and the private sector made their commitments. For example, UNFPA committed the development of SRHR in several East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific countries: 1) Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Laos & Philippines, 2) access to contraceptive services in Cambodia, Lao, People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Pacific Island Countries, Papua New Guinea, and 3) end female genital mutilation in Indonesia. Here, as a leader of SRHR, IPPF commits to work to accelerate universal access to safe abortion care centred on three principles: rights-based, reproductive justice and gender transformative. IPPF will also work with the Governments of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands to help realize universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights and CSE. What does the future look like? In the words of Dr Alvaro Bermejo, IPPF Director General, “…we want the GEF to be more than just an alliance committing to a set of beautiful and progressive words. We want action to make a difference in everyone’s life, especially the most forgotten women, adolescents and girls. And for that, we need a solid Accountability Framework, where all commitment makers report progress periodically. We want to develop effective monitoring mechanisms, to make sure that the GEF does not become a mere bouquet of empty promises.”   Sources: https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2021/7/news-gef-paris-action-coalitions-launch-commitments-for-gender-equality https://www.ippf.org/news/ippf-announces-new-commitments-sexual-and-reproductive-health-and-rights-srhr-generation https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/jun/30/billions-pledged-to-tackle-gender-inequality-at-un-forum

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news item

| 01 July 2021

Generation Equality Asia-Pacific Regional Dialogue: Bodily Autonomy and SRHR

International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and UNFPA convened tenacious and dedicated leaders and frontliners working to safeguard bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health rights in crisis-affected communities throughout Asia-Pacific on June 3, 2021. Together, we renewed and inspired collective action to advance women and girls’ ability to exercise these rights as our region emerges from the devastating setbacks of COVID-19. This dialogue highlighted why sexual and reproductive health and rights is critical to gender equality and how we hope this dialogue will continue to catalyse productive collaborations to further progress the work of the Generation Equality Forum’s (GEF) Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights(SRHR).   IPPF AND GENERATION EQUALITY IPPF is proud to co-lead the Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy & SRHR at the Generation Equality Forum, a global gathering for gender equality. Find out more about our commitments here.   Event Summary  Recording: Watch the full event here. What we heard from our speakers: The COVID-19 pandemic has made what was already hard even more challenging: Disparities in access to sexual and reproductive health information and services for many women and girls have worsened drastically, especially for those in underserved communities and for those who face persistent stigma and discrimination. This has fundamental repercussions on the bodily autonomy of women and girls. His Excellency, Mr Roland Galharague, French Ambassador to Malaysia, underscored the need for - and France’s commitment to -a series of priorities in regard to ensuring the right to bodily autonomy: Comprehensive sexuality education for young people; improved availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of contraception and pregnancy termination services; and political and social measures so girls and women gain complete control over their own bodies.       Upala Devi, Regional Gender Technical Adviser, UNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional Office outlined the vision for the GEF Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and SRHR: To empower women and girls in all their diversity to exercise their SRHR and to make decisions about their bodies free from coercion, violence and discrimination. She urged all of us to become leaders or commitment-makers to further progress this vision. For further engagement in the Generation Equality Forum and realizing bodily autonomy and SRHR to advance gender equality, you can consider becoming a commitment maker. The commitment makers will be vital to a strong, vibrant and result-driven coalition of commitment-making partners to realize the four action areas. Please find more information about the Commitment Makers Model and the link to register your interest on the online platform.     Tomoko Fukuda, Regional Director, IPPF East & South East Asia and Oceania Region called upon civil society to help unpack the diverse challenges that women and girls face in accessing SRH services and to voice these needs to governments and other decision-makers. In doing so, we can prevent unintended pregnancies and thus improve women’s ability to gain control over their own lives.     Sivananthi Thanenthiran, Executive Director, The Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women - ARROW reflected on the history and changes of the feminist movement since Beijing and ICPD, sharing her hope that GEF captures the same momentum that grabbed the world’s attention nearly 30 years ago and created  countless critical changes for women’s equality. She reminds us that GEF and its Action Coalitions are an opportunity to push forward the “unfinished agenda of Beijing” and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ICPD Programme of Action.     Surakshya Giri, an inspirational youth activist from Nepal, requested Action Coalition partners to help address the gaps in flexible, culturally responsive, and youth-friendly comprehensive sexuality education, especially in socially excluded and underserved communities. She also calls on young people to play an active role in advancing gender equality and reproductive rights as torchbearers of ICPD and the SDGs.     Selai Cama Korovusere, Director for Women, Ministry of Women, Children & Poverty Alleviation, Fiji noted the Fijian Government’s collaboration with relevant stakeholders to put women and girls at the centre of national COVID-19 response plans ensuring to reach those left furthest behind while safeguarding and leveraging gains made on gender equality and women and girls' rights. There is an urgent need for gender data in the Pacific, including evidence on SRHR, to change attitudes and to inform policies for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.     Björn Andersson, Regional Director, UNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional Office highlighted that 40 per cent of women and girls in the Asia-Pacific region are robbed of their right to make simple but extremely consequential choices about their own bodies, and shared UNFPA’s long-standing efforts with governments, civil society and UN partners to tackle these challenges in the region.     And finally, our moderator, Tehmina Kaoosji, an independent broadcast journalist, gender activist, and media personality, Malaysia, offered a sliver of hope: The current spotlight on the increased and intersecting discriminations faced by women and girls as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic may be its silver lining. If harnessed, this heightened attention could make the achievement of gender equality more likely in our lifetimes.         What we heard from you:   Calling for progressive action from today’s leaders to pave the way for younger generations to take the lead in further realising women and girls’ bodily autonomy and SRHR. A profound interest in increased and concrete opportunities for collaboration between activists and civil society organisations working to advance women’s rights, bodily autonomy, and SRHR. A need for effective implementation of laws and international standards on these issues, and for them to be made more inclusive through community-level alliance building with diverse and intersecting actors. Invest in cross-cultural solutions to advance women and girls’ bodily autonomy and SRHR in settings with highly diverse populations.       Resources mentioned during the dialogue:   UNFPA's 2021 State of World Population Report, My Body is My Own: www.unfpa.org/SOWP-2021     More about the Generation Equality Forum:   The Generation Equality Forum opened in Mexico last March, and will culminate in Paris from 30 June to 2 July, 2021. Register here to gain access to the GEF's digital platform, to attend nearly 90 events featuring 500 panellists and interact with tens of thousands of participants from around the world.   UNFPA, IPPF, and ARROW, together with France and other governments, international organisations, private companies and philanthropies, and civil society and youth-led partners, constitute the leadership structure of the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.       

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news_item

| 01 July 2021

Generation Equality Asia-Pacific Regional Dialogue: Bodily Autonomy and SRHR

International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and UNFPA convened tenacious and dedicated leaders and frontliners working to safeguard bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health rights in crisis-affected communities throughout Asia-Pacific on June 3, 2021. Together, we renewed and inspired collective action to advance women and girls’ ability to exercise these rights as our region emerges from the devastating setbacks of COVID-19. This dialogue highlighted why sexual and reproductive health and rights is critical to gender equality and how we hope this dialogue will continue to catalyse productive collaborations to further progress the work of the Generation Equality Forum’s (GEF) Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights(SRHR).   IPPF AND GENERATION EQUALITY IPPF is proud to co-lead the Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy & SRHR at the Generation Equality Forum, a global gathering for gender equality. Find out more about our commitments here.   Event Summary  Recording: Watch the full event here. What we heard from our speakers: The COVID-19 pandemic has made what was already hard even more challenging: Disparities in access to sexual and reproductive health information and services for many women and girls have worsened drastically, especially for those in underserved communities and for those who face persistent stigma and discrimination. This has fundamental repercussions on the bodily autonomy of women and girls. His Excellency, Mr Roland Galharague, French Ambassador to Malaysia, underscored the need for - and France’s commitment to -a series of priorities in regard to ensuring the right to bodily autonomy: Comprehensive sexuality education for young people; improved availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of contraception and pregnancy termination services; and political and social measures so girls and women gain complete control over their own bodies.       Upala Devi, Regional Gender Technical Adviser, UNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional Office outlined the vision for the GEF Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and SRHR: To empower women and girls in all their diversity to exercise their SRHR and to make decisions about their bodies free from coercion, violence and discrimination. She urged all of us to become leaders or commitment-makers to further progress this vision. For further engagement in the Generation Equality Forum and realizing bodily autonomy and SRHR to advance gender equality, you can consider becoming a commitment maker. The commitment makers will be vital to a strong, vibrant and result-driven coalition of commitment-making partners to realize the four action areas. Please find more information about the Commitment Makers Model and the link to register your interest on the online platform.     Tomoko Fukuda, Regional Director, IPPF East & South East Asia and Oceania Region called upon civil society to help unpack the diverse challenges that women and girls face in accessing SRH services and to voice these needs to governments and other decision-makers. In doing so, we can prevent unintended pregnancies and thus improve women’s ability to gain control over their own lives.     Sivananthi Thanenthiran, Executive Director, The Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women - ARROW reflected on the history and changes of the feminist movement since Beijing and ICPD, sharing her hope that GEF captures the same momentum that grabbed the world’s attention nearly 30 years ago and created  countless critical changes for women’s equality. She reminds us that GEF and its Action Coalitions are an opportunity to push forward the “unfinished agenda of Beijing” and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ICPD Programme of Action.     Surakshya Giri, an inspirational youth activist from Nepal, requested Action Coalition partners to help address the gaps in flexible, culturally responsive, and youth-friendly comprehensive sexuality education, especially in socially excluded and underserved communities. She also calls on young people to play an active role in advancing gender equality and reproductive rights as torchbearers of ICPD and the SDGs.     Selai Cama Korovusere, Director for Women, Ministry of Women, Children & Poverty Alleviation, Fiji noted the Fijian Government’s collaboration with relevant stakeholders to put women and girls at the centre of national COVID-19 response plans ensuring to reach those left furthest behind while safeguarding and leveraging gains made on gender equality and women and girls' rights. There is an urgent need for gender data in the Pacific, including evidence on SRHR, to change attitudes and to inform policies for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.     Björn Andersson, Regional Director, UNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional Office highlighted that 40 per cent of women and girls in the Asia-Pacific region are robbed of their right to make simple but extremely consequential choices about their own bodies, and shared UNFPA’s long-standing efforts with governments, civil society and UN partners to tackle these challenges in the region.     And finally, our moderator, Tehmina Kaoosji, an independent broadcast journalist, gender activist, and media personality, Malaysia, offered a sliver of hope: The current spotlight on the increased and intersecting discriminations faced by women and girls as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic may be its silver lining. If harnessed, this heightened attention could make the achievement of gender equality more likely in our lifetimes.         What we heard from you:   Calling for progressive action from today’s leaders to pave the way for younger generations to take the lead in further realising women and girls’ bodily autonomy and SRHR. A profound interest in increased and concrete opportunities for collaboration between activists and civil society organisations working to advance women’s rights, bodily autonomy, and SRHR. A need for effective implementation of laws and international standards on these issues, and for them to be made more inclusive through community-level alliance building with diverse and intersecting actors. Invest in cross-cultural solutions to advance women and girls’ bodily autonomy and SRHR in settings with highly diverse populations.       Resources mentioned during the dialogue:   UNFPA's 2021 State of World Population Report, My Body is My Own: www.unfpa.org/SOWP-2021     More about the Generation Equality Forum:   The Generation Equality Forum opened in Mexico last March, and will culminate in Paris from 30 June to 2 July, 2021. Register here to gain access to the GEF's digital platform, to attend nearly 90 events featuring 500 panellists and interact with tens of thousands of participants from around the world.   UNFPA, IPPF, and ARROW, together with France and other governments, international organisations, private companies and philanthropies, and civil society and youth-led partners, constitute the leadership structure of the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.       

SGBV Fundamental training news
news item

| 19 March 2021

SGBV Fundamentals training successfully rolled out across all IPPF Pacific Member Associations

People all over the world are facing the reality of the climate crisis – in many parts of the world this is manifesting in an increased volatility of extreme weather events. Risks of sexual and gender-based violence are heightened during humanitarian crises and in times of displacement. Both can be expected to increase as a result of more severe and frequent extreme weather events and the slow onset effects of the climate crisis, such as sea level rise. The Pacific Region is home to some of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, including Vanuatu and Tonga, rated as the first and second most ‘at-risk’ countries in the world for natural hazards. A recent report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) presents data from the largest ever study of the prevalence of violence against women. While the numbers reveal already alarmingly high rates of violence against women and girls, WHO and partners warn that the COVID-19 pandemic has further increased women’s exposure to violence, as a result of measures such as lockdowns and disruptions to vital support services. The same report found that the region of Oceania (which includes the Pacific) has the highest prevalence rates of intimate partner violence among women aged 15-49 in the world: 51% in Melanesia, 41% in Micronesia, and 39% in Polynesia.  IPPF’s Member Associations (MAs) across the Pacific have been providing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care to women and girls for decades. There is a close intersection between SRH care and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) care, as it is often the medical personnel who provide women with SRH who are in the best position to identify – and then provide services or refer – SGBV cases. A growing need for SGBV training for our MAs who operate in humanitarian settings was recognised by IPPF. With support from the Australian Government, IPPF developed an in-house training package – the SGBV Fundamentals Training - that has now been successfully rolled out to all nine MAs across the Pacific Region. The SGBV Fundamentals training material was developed by the IPPF Humanitarian Pacific team utilising resources from the WHO Health care for women subjected to intimate partner violence or sexual violence, IASC Guidelines for Integrating Gender-Based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action and UNFPA material as an introduction to the Gender, SGBV, and first-line support. The SGBV Fundamentals Training targets management, clinical and program staff, and is delivered over four days as an in-house training to build staff’s capacity to deliver first-line support to SGBV survivors. One of the MAs that took part in IPPF’s SGBV Fundamentals Training was the Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association (SIPPA), which was established in 1980 and is the leading SRHR organization in the country.   Due to the wide reach of services SIPPA provides across the country, in preparedness for humanitarian events, SIPPA identified the need to strengthen the capacity of all its staff to respond to SGBV in emergencies. The focus was to equip clinical, program and volunteer staff to provide first-line SGBV support in emergency and stable times. In order to provide such services, the training addressed the foundation skills and knowledge of SGBV and how this enables the first-line support approach. The training took place over three days, and included 16 staff members, including clinical staff.   Ben Angoa, Executive Director of SIPPA, speaks of the SGBV situation in the Solomon Islands: “From what I have seen and experienced through providing services, it’s a pressing issue that needs to be carefully looked at. For us, it’s quite alarming and something that the government should be considering as high priority”.   “For the past two years, most of the clients I see are girls/students under the age of 24. Their parents bring them in. They have experienced sexual violence and the parents are worried they might be pregnant. We have a very strong partnership with the Christian Care Centre, so most of their cases are referred to us. We also have people from the community where we have been doing awareness of SGBV to bring survivors directly to our clinic. People are feeling more comfortable coming to our clinic due to the set-up, environment and the sort of quality services our nurses provide.”  SIPPA is part of the SafeNet programme in the Solomon Islands, so they have a referral pathway to the police and to social welfare if clients decide they want to pursue the case with the police. SafeNet is a network of government and non-government organizations in the country working on new ways to improve quality services for survivors of SGBV.   Mr Angoa explains “We were accepted in 2018 to be part of the SafeNet programme. They gave us two mandates: SGBV awareness and clinical services. We were so fortunate to have the training from IPPF, it really helped us set the direction and see how important our services are. Without that training, although we became a member of SafeNet, we really didn’t provide quality services in that area. After the training, our nurses knew everything about GBV, even our volunteers knew about GBV. Some of our clients hide themselves from being a victim. But during the clinical visits we would do awareness with them and some of our cases were discovered during that time. It would be difficult for other service providers to set up the right environment, for us what makes the client more comfortable is our clinic”.   SIPPA’s clinic set-up includes a gate outside and the facility is full fenced, they have security, and clients have to pass through the administration area before they get to the clinic. They have five rooms that are able to be locked. “Others cannot hear you inside the rooms as they are so protected. So, the set-up is quite different from other [organisations]. Other members from SafeNet admire our set up,” says Mr Angoa.    After the SGBV Fundamentals Training in 2018, nurses and other medical personnel gained knowledge on how to ask questions to ascertain if a client is experiencing SGBV. “It is from the training that our staff learned how to identify people who were affected by SGBV. Before it was disorganised, but now we have a proper system for SGBV cases; this is the channel we need to follow. We take suspected SGBV cases out to the back of the clinic and send them straight to the nurse that we have appointed as our focal SGBV person. We started to improve our ways of providing services and looking after the survivors and ask about their safety – is it okay for you to go back to your family? This is where the referral pathway network comes in,” says Mr Angoa.   Apart from the Solomon Islands, the SGBV Fundamentals Training was rolled out in Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. A recent survey of participants asked what their top learning outcomes were, with many respondents citing the fact they are now able to identify different types of violence (physical, sexual and psychological), the importance of referral pathways, eliminating victim blaming, how to speak to survivors in a sensitive manner, and the importance of confidentiality and trust.   One survey respondent said, “Before, I always thought SGBV was the responsibility of other agencies. Since learning about SGBV, I now understand where I stand and how I should work around the issue. For example, I now have the confidence in identifying survivors, and in counselling survivors, and providing support for them.”   IPPF has plans to build upon this training, by enabling first-line support provision through mentoring and building on the concepts covered in the SGBV Fundamentals. IPPF will also be supporting MAs to strengthen their clinical operations and networks to ensure safe, coordinated referrals can be offered to survivors of SGBV.  It is indisputable that SGBV is linked to negative SRH outcomes for women and girls, and with the rising number of climate related disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating conditions that can lead to violence, it’s even more imperative that our MAs are equipped to respond to SGBV.   As one respondent answered: “As a program facilitator, I learnt from this training that delivering the right information will help save a life”. 

SGBV Fundamental training news
news_item

| 19 March 2021

SGBV Fundamentals training successfully rolled out across all IPPF Pacific Member Associations

People all over the world are facing the reality of the climate crisis – in many parts of the world this is manifesting in an increased volatility of extreme weather events. Risks of sexual and gender-based violence are heightened during humanitarian crises and in times of displacement. Both can be expected to increase as a result of more severe and frequent extreme weather events and the slow onset effects of the climate crisis, such as sea level rise. The Pacific Region is home to some of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, including Vanuatu and Tonga, rated as the first and second most ‘at-risk’ countries in the world for natural hazards. A recent report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) presents data from the largest ever study of the prevalence of violence against women. While the numbers reveal already alarmingly high rates of violence against women and girls, WHO and partners warn that the COVID-19 pandemic has further increased women’s exposure to violence, as a result of measures such as lockdowns and disruptions to vital support services. The same report found that the region of Oceania (which includes the Pacific) has the highest prevalence rates of intimate partner violence among women aged 15-49 in the world: 51% in Melanesia, 41% in Micronesia, and 39% in Polynesia.  IPPF’s Member Associations (MAs) across the Pacific have been providing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care to women and girls for decades. There is a close intersection between SRH care and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) care, as it is often the medical personnel who provide women with SRH who are in the best position to identify – and then provide services or refer – SGBV cases. A growing need for SGBV training for our MAs who operate in humanitarian settings was recognised by IPPF. With support from the Australian Government, IPPF developed an in-house training package – the SGBV Fundamentals Training - that has now been successfully rolled out to all nine MAs across the Pacific Region. The SGBV Fundamentals training material was developed by the IPPF Humanitarian Pacific team utilising resources from the WHO Health care for women subjected to intimate partner violence or sexual violence, IASC Guidelines for Integrating Gender-Based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action and UNFPA material as an introduction to the Gender, SGBV, and first-line support. The SGBV Fundamentals Training targets management, clinical and program staff, and is delivered over four days as an in-house training to build staff’s capacity to deliver first-line support to SGBV survivors. One of the MAs that took part in IPPF’s SGBV Fundamentals Training was the Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association (SIPPA), which was established in 1980 and is the leading SRHR organization in the country.   Due to the wide reach of services SIPPA provides across the country, in preparedness for humanitarian events, SIPPA identified the need to strengthen the capacity of all its staff to respond to SGBV in emergencies. The focus was to equip clinical, program and volunteer staff to provide first-line SGBV support in emergency and stable times. In order to provide such services, the training addressed the foundation skills and knowledge of SGBV and how this enables the first-line support approach. The training took place over three days, and included 16 staff members, including clinical staff.   Ben Angoa, Executive Director of SIPPA, speaks of the SGBV situation in the Solomon Islands: “From what I have seen and experienced through providing services, it’s a pressing issue that needs to be carefully looked at. For us, it’s quite alarming and something that the government should be considering as high priority”.   “For the past two years, most of the clients I see are girls/students under the age of 24. Their parents bring them in. They have experienced sexual violence and the parents are worried they might be pregnant. We have a very strong partnership with the Christian Care Centre, so most of their cases are referred to us. We also have people from the community where we have been doing awareness of SGBV to bring survivors directly to our clinic. People are feeling more comfortable coming to our clinic due to the set-up, environment and the sort of quality services our nurses provide.”  SIPPA is part of the SafeNet programme in the Solomon Islands, so they have a referral pathway to the police and to social welfare if clients decide they want to pursue the case with the police. SafeNet is a network of government and non-government organizations in the country working on new ways to improve quality services for survivors of SGBV.   Mr Angoa explains “We were accepted in 2018 to be part of the SafeNet programme. They gave us two mandates: SGBV awareness and clinical services. We were so fortunate to have the training from IPPF, it really helped us set the direction and see how important our services are. Without that training, although we became a member of SafeNet, we really didn’t provide quality services in that area. After the training, our nurses knew everything about GBV, even our volunteers knew about GBV. Some of our clients hide themselves from being a victim. But during the clinical visits we would do awareness with them and some of our cases were discovered during that time. It would be difficult for other service providers to set up the right environment, for us what makes the client more comfortable is our clinic”.   SIPPA’s clinic set-up includes a gate outside and the facility is full fenced, they have security, and clients have to pass through the administration area before they get to the clinic. They have five rooms that are able to be locked. “Others cannot hear you inside the rooms as they are so protected. So, the set-up is quite different from other [organisations]. Other members from SafeNet admire our set up,” says Mr Angoa.    After the SGBV Fundamentals Training in 2018, nurses and other medical personnel gained knowledge on how to ask questions to ascertain if a client is experiencing SGBV. “It is from the training that our staff learned how to identify people who were affected by SGBV. Before it was disorganised, but now we have a proper system for SGBV cases; this is the channel we need to follow. We take suspected SGBV cases out to the back of the clinic and send them straight to the nurse that we have appointed as our focal SGBV person. We started to improve our ways of providing services and looking after the survivors and ask about their safety – is it okay for you to go back to your family? This is where the referral pathway network comes in,” says Mr Angoa.   Apart from the Solomon Islands, the SGBV Fundamentals Training was rolled out in Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. A recent survey of participants asked what their top learning outcomes were, with many respondents citing the fact they are now able to identify different types of violence (physical, sexual and psychological), the importance of referral pathways, eliminating victim blaming, how to speak to survivors in a sensitive manner, and the importance of confidentiality and trust.   One survey respondent said, “Before, I always thought SGBV was the responsibility of other agencies. Since learning about SGBV, I now understand where I stand and how I should work around the issue. For example, I now have the confidence in identifying survivors, and in counselling survivors, and providing support for them.”   IPPF has plans to build upon this training, by enabling first-line support provision through mentoring and building on the concepts covered in the SGBV Fundamentals. IPPF will also be supporting MAs to strengthen their clinical operations and networks to ensure safe, coordinated referrals can be offered to survivors of SGBV.  It is indisputable that SGBV is linked to negative SRH outcomes for women and girls, and with the rising number of climate related disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating conditions that can lead to violence, it’s even more imperative that our MAs are equipped to respond to SGBV.   As one respondent answered: “As a program facilitator, I learnt from this training that delivering the right information will help save a life”. 

Women's Rights are Human Rights
news item

| 29 January 2021

IPPF welcomes President Biden’s decision to repeal the Global Gag Rule

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) welcomes the news of President Biden’s decision to keep his promise and repeal the harmful Global Gag Rule (GGR) – also known as the Mexico City Policy. Since its expanded reintroduction in 2017 by the previous administration, the Global Gag Rule has contributed to an increase in unintended and high-risk pregnancies, unsafe abortions – culminating in unnecessary maternal deaths. For IPPF, 53 healthcare projects in 32 countries were impacted by GGR, with some Member Associations losing up to 60% of their funding. IPPF’s Director-General, Dr Alvaro Bermejo said: “I welcome the decision by President Biden to repeal the Global Gag Rule."   “The expanded reintroduction of the gag was callously designed to deny women the right to decide what happens to their body. Whilst we know this policy is intended as a tool to attack abortion care by the anti-choice movement, not only has it led to reproductive coercion, cut deeper into healthcare provision: from HIV prevention programs to maternal health to contraceptive access – no one was spared the fallout of this policy.   “What lies ahead of us is years of work to undo the harm caused by Global Gag Rule, and to build back a better and stronger relationship with the U.S. – one where our work is not under threat from future anti-sexual and reproductive health administrations. To protect the rights of future generations of women and girls, we ask that the Biden-Harris administration take the necessary steps to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. Without a permanent repeal, the global gag remains a constant threat to women, girls, youth and marginalized communities. Reproductive rights, bodily autonomy and the human right to decide what happens to your body cannot be at the mercy of a pen stroke.   “IPPF looks on with hope and welcomes the opportunity to work closely with the Biden-Harris administration to protect and advance sexual and reproductive healthcare for all.”   And President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Alexis McGill Johnson said:   “Over the past four years, the United States didn’t just fail to support global reproductive health care access – it actively blocked it. Today, we applaud the beginning of a new chapter, as the Biden-Harris administration puts an end to the devastating global gag rule, which has prevented millions of people around the world from receiving essential health care. We look forward to working alongside the administration and Congress to pass the Global HER Act, to permanently protect access to sexual and reproductive health care across the globe from changes in White House political control. It is long past time that the United States proudly declares to the world that reproductive rights are human rights.”   IPPF would like to thank the international community who stepped in and stepped up to help fill the funding gap that was left by the Global Gag Rule. Together, we will continue to fight and deliver sexual and reproductive health and rights. For media inquiries please contact [email protected](+44) 2079398227

Women's Rights are Human Rights
news_item

| 29 January 2021

IPPF welcomes President Biden’s decision to repeal the Global Gag Rule

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) welcomes the news of President Biden’s decision to keep his promise and repeal the harmful Global Gag Rule (GGR) – also known as the Mexico City Policy. Since its expanded reintroduction in 2017 by the previous administration, the Global Gag Rule has contributed to an increase in unintended and high-risk pregnancies, unsafe abortions – culminating in unnecessary maternal deaths. For IPPF, 53 healthcare projects in 32 countries were impacted by GGR, with some Member Associations losing up to 60% of their funding. IPPF’s Director-General, Dr Alvaro Bermejo said: “I welcome the decision by President Biden to repeal the Global Gag Rule."   “The expanded reintroduction of the gag was callously designed to deny women the right to decide what happens to their body. Whilst we know this policy is intended as a tool to attack abortion care by the anti-choice movement, not only has it led to reproductive coercion, cut deeper into healthcare provision: from HIV prevention programs to maternal health to contraceptive access – no one was spared the fallout of this policy.   “What lies ahead of us is years of work to undo the harm caused by Global Gag Rule, and to build back a better and stronger relationship with the U.S. – one where our work is not under threat from future anti-sexual and reproductive health administrations. To protect the rights of future generations of women and girls, we ask that the Biden-Harris administration take the necessary steps to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. Without a permanent repeal, the global gag remains a constant threat to women, girls, youth and marginalized communities. Reproductive rights, bodily autonomy and the human right to decide what happens to your body cannot be at the mercy of a pen stroke.   “IPPF looks on with hope and welcomes the opportunity to work closely with the Biden-Harris administration to protect and advance sexual and reproductive healthcare for all.”   And President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Alexis McGill Johnson said:   “Over the past four years, the United States didn’t just fail to support global reproductive health care access – it actively blocked it. Today, we applaud the beginning of a new chapter, as the Biden-Harris administration puts an end to the devastating global gag rule, which has prevented millions of people around the world from receiving essential health care. We look forward to working alongside the administration and Congress to pass the Global HER Act, to permanently protect access to sexual and reproductive health care across the globe from changes in White House political control. It is long past time that the United States proudly declares to the world that reproductive rights are human rights.”   IPPF would like to thank the international community who stepped in and stepped up to help fill the funding gap that was left by the Global Gag Rule. Together, we will continue to fight and deliver sexual and reproductive health and rights. For media inquiries please contact [email protected](+44) 2079398227

Generation Equality Forum
news item

| 10 September 2021

Generation Equality Forum: Open Letter to UN Women

International Planned Parenthood Federation East & South East Asia and Oceania Region (IPPF ESEAOR), Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA), and Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) sent an open letter to UN Women on behalf of 92 civil society organizations based and/or working in the Asia and the Pacific to express concerns about the accessibility and inclusivity of the Paris Generation Equality Forum (GEF). This open letter is an outcome action from a regional civil society debrief following the Paris GEF, and developed through a consultative process. We welcome conversations with UN Women to establish inclusive and accessible channels of engagement and means of support for Generation Equality as we focus on implementation and accountability. Our open letter: English version with the full list of signatories, Bahasa Indonesia, Japanese, Mandarin, Hindi   Asia Pacific Sign On Letter: Accountability for the GEF Commitments and Civil Society Engagement We write to you as 92 intersectional feminist civil society (CS) organizations based and working in Asia and the Pacific. We are encouraged by the recent Generation Equality Forum (GEF) opportunity to build momentum and strengthen commitments to gender equality and empowerment across the globe. We are pleased to see 40 billion USD raised from multiple stakeholders towards this goal and towards achieving the targets and commitments of the GEF Action Coalition (AC) blueprints. However, we wish to express our strong concern that Asia and the Pacific was not prioritized, with a lack of engagement and a lack of resources for the region in the GEF and its development. Asia Pacific is home to the world's largest population, with over 60% of the world's youth. It is the most vulnerable to climate-related disasters, disproportionately affecting women and marginalized groups. Almost 40% of women in South-East Asia and up to 68% of women in the Pacific experience sexual and gender-based violence from intimate partners [1]. The Pacific region has some of the lowest rates of women in national legislative bodies across the globe. GEF was envisioned as a space to position some of these issues with our governments and we expected the Paris Forum would provide a platform to raise our critical collective advocacy issues. Yet, we observed that no government from Asia or the Pacific took part in the Paris opening or closing ceremonies; feminist leadership was not well represented throughout the forum and specific groups like sex workers and trans people were excluded. This is a huge missed opportunity to advance the gender equality agenda across our region and accurately represent global Generation Equality realities. We call urgent attention to the disappointing lack of financial commitments at GEF to the Feminist Action and Climate Justice AC, as Asia and the Pacific are already dealing daily with massive loss and damage from the climate and ecological emergency [2]. We are also deeply concerned about the lack of accessibility of the online platform – the timing and languages of GEF events posed a barrier for feminists from our region, and the platform technology didn’t take into account accessibility from regions far away from Europe. There was an unacceptable lack of disability-related accessibility, including sign language interpretation, closed captioning or screen reader accessibility (in multiple languages). Language is a substantial barrier to participation for women, girls and others who do not understand either English or French. The GEF Paris platform did not work well overall, and many sessions were severely disrupted by buffering, moderator issues, back-end technical staff being overheard during the sessions, and other technical issues. If Generation Equality truly seeks to be more inclusive, such barriers must be removed. Without guaranteeing the participation of those marginalized by ableism, heteronormativity, patriarchy and colonial legacies, we shall never achieve gender equality, and “leaving no one behind” will simply be empty rhetoric. The GEF must adhere to and exemplify the core AC principles of “intersectionality, feminist leadership and transformation”. In moving the process forward, we shall continue to engage in good faith but require increased accountability and transparency in content, structure and process. We feel that by working collectively, we can ensure that countries in Asia and the Pacific are mobilized to build momentum for gender equality, and ensure accountability for GEF commitments and ensure they are speedily devolved to grassroots, indigenous and local women and feminist-led groups, on the ground. We recommend: Transforming the Action Coalitions into inclusive Communities of Practice with full accessibility, and establishing regional Communities of Practice with resources for regional UN offices and development institutions to support engagement of intersectional feminists and women in all their diversity, including those in urban poor, informal settlements, rural and maritime areas, sex workers, LGBTQI+, non-binary people and people living with disabilities, from across the region; Making available adequate, sustainable and flexible funding to civil society, feminist, women, community and grass-roots, and youth-led organisations; Establishing a strong and effective accountability framework at regional, national and global levels by the end of the year to monitor commitments made by all AC leaders and commitment-makers; Engaging with intersectional feminists and civil society groups in the region to advocate with governments, regional development institutions and funders to properly resource and implement a robust and inclusive accountability framework that evaluates transformative impact at the grassroots level; Urgent fundraising by GEF for the work of the Feminist Action and Climate Justice AC, and a global cross-AC campaign to increase political will on climate change, ecological and gender equality; Strengthening engagement with multi-stakeholder groups across the region as the GEF process continues to be planned and implemented, including all future fora and accountability mechanisms, to ensure that no one in our region is left out in the future. We look forward to shared leadership and action in ensuring that GEF Commitments and the ACs advance gender equality and support the realization of women’s human rights for an equal, just, peaceful and ecologically sustainable future across all regions of the world, including Asia and the Pacific. [1] The World Health Organization, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and South African Medical Research Council (2013). ‘Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence’ p 16, 20 [2] The lack of political will and financial commitments belies CEDAW General Recommendation 37 (2018) which acknowledges that climate change is a core women’s human rights issue, linked to all aspects of socio-economic and environmental rights, gender-based violence, conflict, migration and displacement. Read our Media Release

Generation Equality Forum
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| 10 September 2021

Generation Equality Forum: Open Letter to UN Women

International Planned Parenthood Federation East & South East Asia and Oceania Region (IPPF ESEAOR), Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA), and Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) sent an open letter to UN Women on behalf of 92 civil society organizations based and/or working in the Asia and the Pacific to express concerns about the accessibility and inclusivity of the Paris Generation Equality Forum (GEF). This open letter is an outcome action from a regional civil society debrief following the Paris GEF, and developed through a consultative process. We welcome conversations with UN Women to establish inclusive and accessible channels of engagement and means of support for Generation Equality as we focus on implementation and accountability. Our open letter: English version with the full list of signatories, Bahasa Indonesia, Japanese, Mandarin, Hindi   Asia Pacific Sign On Letter: Accountability for the GEF Commitments and Civil Society Engagement We write to you as 92 intersectional feminist civil society (CS) organizations based and working in Asia and the Pacific. We are encouraged by the recent Generation Equality Forum (GEF) opportunity to build momentum and strengthen commitments to gender equality and empowerment across the globe. We are pleased to see 40 billion USD raised from multiple stakeholders towards this goal and towards achieving the targets and commitments of the GEF Action Coalition (AC) blueprints. However, we wish to express our strong concern that Asia and the Pacific was not prioritized, with a lack of engagement and a lack of resources for the region in the GEF and its development. Asia Pacific is home to the world's largest population, with over 60% of the world's youth. It is the most vulnerable to climate-related disasters, disproportionately affecting women and marginalized groups. Almost 40% of women in South-East Asia and up to 68% of women in the Pacific experience sexual and gender-based violence from intimate partners [1]. The Pacific region has some of the lowest rates of women in national legislative bodies across the globe. GEF was envisioned as a space to position some of these issues with our governments and we expected the Paris Forum would provide a platform to raise our critical collective advocacy issues. Yet, we observed that no government from Asia or the Pacific took part in the Paris opening or closing ceremonies; feminist leadership was not well represented throughout the forum and specific groups like sex workers and trans people were excluded. This is a huge missed opportunity to advance the gender equality agenda across our region and accurately represent global Generation Equality realities. We call urgent attention to the disappointing lack of financial commitments at GEF to the Feminist Action and Climate Justice AC, as Asia and the Pacific are already dealing daily with massive loss and damage from the climate and ecological emergency [2]. We are also deeply concerned about the lack of accessibility of the online platform – the timing and languages of GEF events posed a barrier for feminists from our region, and the platform technology didn’t take into account accessibility from regions far away from Europe. There was an unacceptable lack of disability-related accessibility, including sign language interpretation, closed captioning or screen reader accessibility (in multiple languages). Language is a substantial barrier to participation for women, girls and others who do not understand either English or French. The GEF Paris platform did not work well overall, and many sessions were severely disrupted by buffering, moderator issues, back-end technical staff being overheard during the sessions, and other technical issues. If Generation Equality truly seeks to be more inclusive, such barriers must be removed. Without guaranteeing the participation of those marginalized by ableism, heteronormativity, patriarchy and colonial legacies, we shall never achieve gender equality, and “leaving no one behind” will simply be empty rhetoric. The GEF must adhere to and exemplify the core AC principles of “intersectionality, feminist leadership and transformation”. In moving the process forward, we shall continue to engage in good faith but require increased accountability and transparency in content, structure and process. We feel that by working collectively, we can ensure that countries in Asia and the Pacific are mobilized to build momentum for gender equality, and ensure accountability for GEF commitments and ensure they are speedily devolved to grassroots, indigenous and local women and feminist-led groups, on the ground. We recommend: Transforming the Action Coalitions into inclusive Communities of Practice with full accessibility, and establishing regional Communities of Practice with resources for regional UN offices and development institutions to support engagement of intersectional feminists and women in all their diversity, including those in urban poor, informal settlements, rural and maritime areas, sex workers, LGBTQI+, non-binary people and people living with disabilities, from across the region; Making available adequate, sustainable and flexible funding to civil society, feminist, women, community and grass-roots, and youth-led organisations; Establishing a strong and effective accountability framework at regional, national and global levels by the end of the year to monitor commitments made by all AC leaders and commitment-makers; Engaging with intersectional feminists and civil society groups in the region to advocate with governments, regional development institutions and funders to properly resource and implement a robust and inclusive accountability framework that evaluates transformative impact at the grassroots level; Urgent fundraising by GEF for the work of the Feminist Action and Climate Justice AC, and a global cross-AC campaign to increase political will on climate change, ecological and gender equality; Strengthening engagement with multi-stakeholder groups across the region as the GEF process continues to be planned and implemented, including all future fora and accountability mechanisms, to ensure that no one in our region is left out in the future. We look forward to shared leadership and action in ensuring that GEF Commitments and the ACs advance gender equality and support the realization of women’s human rights for an equal, just, peaceful and ecologically sustainable future across all regions of the world, including Asia and the Pacific. [1] The World Health Organization, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and South African Medical Research Council (2013). ‘Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence’ p 16, 20 [2] The lack of political will and financial commitments belies CEDAW General Recommendation 37 (2018) which acknowledges that climate change is a core women’s human rights issue, linked to all aspects of socio-economic and environmental rights, gender-based violence, conflict, migration and displacement. Read our Media Release

Generation Equality Forum
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| 10 September 2021

Media Release: Asia-Pacific Feminists Call for Inclusion and Accountability in GEF

September 9, 2021 - 92 intersectional feminist civil society (CS) organizations based and working in Asia and the Pacific have released an open letter seeking inclusion and accountability in the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) process. Addressed to UN Women, the statement cites the “lack of engagement and resources provided for the region in the GEF and its development”. The Generation Equality Forum which culminated in Paris last June 30-July 2 did not feature any government representatives from Asia-Pacific nor did it have enough representation from groups like sex workers and trans people. “We fear that the de-prioritization of the largest region in the world will result in missed opportunities to advance the gender equality agenda,” said Natassha Kaur of the International Planned Parenthood Federation East & South East Asia and Oceania Region (IPPF ESEAOR). The statement also cited concerns about the lack of accessibility of the GEF online platform. “We were faced with barriers that are not only due to the technology-related challenges but also because of the timing and language”, said Marevic Parcon of the Philippine-based Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR). The feminists provided recommendations as to ways forward for the GEF process. These include establishing regional communities that collaborate with regional UN offices and support engagement of intersectional feminists and women in all their diversity; establishing a strong and effective accountability framework at regional, national and global levels; engaging with intersectional feminists and civil society groups to properly resource and implement a robust and inclusive accountability framework that evaluates transformative impact at the grassroots level; and strengthening engagement with multi-stakeholder groups across the region as the GEF process continues to be planned and implemented. Climate Justice also merited its own recommendation with the feminists asking for “urgent fundraising” to fund a global campaign to increase political will on climate change, ecological and gender equality. The Asia-Pacific region is the most vulnerable to climate-related disasters, disproportionately affecting women and marginalized groups, according to the statement. “Notwithstanding our concerns, as intersectional feminists, we ask UN Women to provide space for CSOs to strengthen the GEF commitments. We will continue to engage in good faith but we will seek increased accountability and transparency in content, structure, and process,” said Alexandra Johns of the Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, a Bangkok-based SRHR network.   Media Contacts: Malaysia: Natassha Kaur | [email protected] Philippines: Shiphrah Belonguel | [email protected] Thailand: Alexandra Johns | [email protected]

Generation Equality Forum
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| 10 September 2021

Media Release: Asia-Pacific Feminists Call for Inclusion and Accountability in GEF

September 9, 2021 - 92 intersectional feminist civil society (CS) organizations based and working in Asia and the Pacific have released an open letter seeking inclusion and accountability in the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) process. Addressed to UN Women, the statement cites the “lack of engagement and resources provided for the region in the GEF and its development”. The Generation Equality Forum which culminated in Paris last June 30-July 2 did not feature any government representatives from Asia-Pacific nor did it have enough representation from groups like sex workers and trans people. “We fear that the de-prioritization of the largest region in the world will result in missed opportunities to advance the gender equality agenda,” said Natassha Kaur of the International Planned Parenthood Federation East & South East Asia and Oceania Region (IPPF ESEAOR). The statement also cited concerns about the lack of accessibility of the GEF online platform. “We were faced with barriers that are not only due to the technology-related challenges but also because of the timing and language”, said Marevic Parcon of the Philippine-based Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR). The feminists provided recommendations as to ways forward for the GEF process. These include establishing regional communities that collaborate with regional UN offices and support engagement of intersectional feminists and women in all their diversity; establishing a strong and effective accountability framework at regional, national and global levels; engaging with intersectional feminists and civil society groups to properly resource and implement a robust and inclusive accountability framework that evaluates transformative impact at the grassroots level; and strengthening engagement with multi-stakeholder groups across the region as the GEF process continues to be planned and implemented. Climate Justice also merited its own recommendation with the feminists asking for “urgent fundraising” to fund a global campaign to increase political will on climate change, ecological and gender equality. The Asia-Pacific region is the most vulnerable to climate-related disasters, disproportionately affecting women and marginalized groups, according to the statement. “Notwithstanding our concerns, as intersectional feminists, we ask UN Women to provide space for CSOs to strengthen the GEF commitments. We will continue to engage in good faith but we will seek increased accountability and transparency in content, structure, and process,” said Alexandra Johns of the Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, a Bangkok-based SRHR network.   Media Contacts: Malaysia: Natassha Kaur | [email protected] Philippines: Shiphrah Belonguel | [email protected] Thailand: Alexandra Johns | [email protected]

France’s president, Emmanuel Macron (centre), during a discussion at the Generation Equality Forum opening ceremony with (from left): Shantel Marekera, GEF Youth Taskforce; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women; UN Secretary-General, António Guterres; and President of the European Council, Charles Michel.
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| 09 July 2021

The Generation Equality Forum: A New Chapter in Gender Equality

Written by: Ipsita Dwivedi and Kanae Inage, Interns, IPPF ESEAOR, 2021 After nearly two (2) years of preparation, the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) finally took place on 30 June – 2 July in Paris, France. In the last 25 years since the Beijing Platform for Action, our society has changed a lot, but we still face gender inequality, discrimination, and stigmatisation in every corner of the world. Also, under the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the countries face unpredictable difficulties. Now, it is time to rethink how we can develop our society, and this three-day Forum might give you some insightful takeaway. The Present is Feminist In this forum, many female leaders and youth activists emerged as champions and pioneers of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). In the opening ceremony, US Vice President Kamala Harris also emphasised the importance of democracy, inclusiveness, as well as reproductive health. "When women have access to reproductive health care to stay healthy, they can participate more fully, and our democracy grows stronger." Young feminists and activists and the rise of youth organisations stood out in the sessions. Their open mindset successfully challenged the existing gender and sexuality binaries, eventually introducing more inclusive approaches. Under the pandemic with limited access to the resources, they have utilised the digital platform efficiently and communicated with them through diverse ways: podcast, zine, and online webinars. Accessibility, Inclusivity and Diversity Challenges at the Forum The three days were packed with various events on every possible topic in relation to gender equality. However, as participants, we did face many technical difficulties accessing the online forum. There were issues with the translations, unavailability of closed captions and slow servers. Many people were not given access to their accounts till the very last moment which reflected the slow response of the administration. To tackle this, youth and feminist organisations hosted Zoom Parties to make the events more inclusive and open. We also observed a lack of diversity in the selection of speakers. The sessions lacked representation from East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. This was also observed in the commitments, as very few Asia Pacific nations committed to Generation Equality. The Forum also lacked representation from certain marginalised communities such as trans persons and gender diverse persons, and sex workers. This was also reflected in the language of the panellists which was very gender binary and heteronormative. Irrespective of these challenges, the GEF did make us hopeful. The enthusiasm and passion of youth feminists and advocates promise us a brighter and intersectional future. We must ensure to Leave No One Behind.     Building an Intersectional Future The GEF concluded with world leaders committing 40 billion USD for gender equality. The COVID-19 pandemic emerged as a moment of reckoning as many world leaders doubled their investment for gender equality. It also launched the Global Acceleration Plan to advance gender equality by 2026 designed by the six Action Coalitions for the rapid advancement of gender equality. Another key outcome of the Forum is the Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action (WPS-HA) Compact that sets out to systematically and meaningfully include women and girls in peace and security and humanitarian processes. With over 50,000 participants, the GEF provided us with a space to exchange ideas and learn new ways of advocacy, and communications. Many success stories inspired and motivated us to continue our fight for gender equality. “The Generation Equality Forum marks a positive, historic shift in power and perspective” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. Throughout the programme, governments, women’s, feminist and youth-led organizations, international organizations, foundations and the private sector made their commitments. For example, UNFPA committed the development of SRHR in several East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific countries: 1) Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Laos & Philippines, 2) access to contraceptive services in Cambodia, Lao, People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Pacific Island Countries, Papua New Guinea, and 3) end female genital mutilation in Indonesia. Here, as a leader of SRHR, IPPF commits to work to accelerate universal access to safe abortion care centred on three principles: rights-based, reproductive justice and gender transformative. IPPF will also work with the Governments of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands to help realize universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights and CSE. What does the future look like? In the words of Dr Alvaro Bermejo, IPPF Director General, “…we want the GEF to be more than just an alliance committing to a set of beautiful and progressive words. We want action to make a difference in everyone’s life, especially the most forgotten women, adolescents and girls. And for that, we need a solid Accountability Framework, where all commitment makers report progress periodically. We want to develop effective monitoring mechanisms, to make sure that the GEF does not become a mere bouquet of empty promises.”   Sources: https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2021/7/news-gef-paris-action-coalitions-launch-commitments-for-gender-equality https://www.ippf.org/news/ippf-announces-new-commitments-sexual-and-reproductive-health-and-rights-srhr-generation https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/jun/30/billions-pledged-to-tackle-gender-inequality-at-un-forum

France’s president, Emmanuel Macron (centre), during a discussion at the Generation Equality Forum opening ceremony with (from left): Shantel Marekera, GEF Youth Taskforce; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women; UN Secretary-General, António Guterres; and President of the European Council, Charles Michel.
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| 09 July 2021

The Generation Equality Forum: A New Chapter in Gender Equality

Written by: Ipsita Dwivedi and Kanae Inage, Interns, IPPF ESEAOR, 2021 After nearly two (2) years of preparation, the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) finally took place on 30 June – 2 July in Paris, France. In the last 25 years since the Beijing Platform for Action, our society has changed a lot, but we still face gender inequality, discrimination, and stigmatisation in every corner of the world. Also, under the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the countries face unpredictable difficulties. Now, it is time to rethink how we can develop our society, and this three-day Forum might give you some insightful takeaway. The Present is Feminist In this forum, many female leaders and youth activists emerged as champions and pioneers of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). In the opening ceremony, US Vice President Kamala Harris also emphasised the importance of democracy, inclusiveness, as well as reproductive health. "When women have access to reproductive health care to stay healthy, they can participate more fully, and our democracy grows stronger." Young feminists and activists and the rise of youth organisations stood out in the sessions. Their open mindset successfully challenged the existing gender and sexuality binaries, eventually introducing more inclusive approaches. Under the pandemic with limited access to the resources, they have utilised the digital platform efficiently and communicated with them through diverse ways: podcast, zine, and online webinars. Accessibility, Inclusivity and Diversity Challenges at the Forum The three days were packed with various events on every possible topic in relation to gender equality. However, as participants, we did face many technical difficulties accessing the online forum. There were issues with the translations, unavailability of closed captions and slow servers. Many people were not given access to their accounts till the very last moment which reflected the slow response of the administration. To tackle this, youth and feminist organisations hosted Zoom Parties to make the events more inclusive and open. We also observed a lack of diversity in the selection of speakers. The sessions lacked representation from East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. This was also observed in the commitments, as very few Asia Pacific nations committed to Generation Equality. The Forum also lacked representation from certain marginalised communities such as trans persons and gender diverse persons, and sex workers. This was also reflected in the language of the panellists which was very gender binary and heteronormative. Irrespective of these challenges, the GEF did make us hopeful. The enthusiasm and passion of youth feminists and advocates promise us a brighter and intersectional future. We must ensure to Leave No One Behind.     Building an Intersectional Future The GEF concluded with world leaders committing 40 billion USD for gender equality. The COVID-19 pandemic emerged as a moment of reckoning as many world leaders doubled their investment for gender equality. It also launched the Global Acceleration Plan to advance gender equality by 2026 designed by the six Action Coalitions for the rapid advancement of gender equality. Another key outcome of the Forum is the Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action (WPS-HA) Compact that sets out to systematically and meaningfully include women and girls in peace and security and humanitarian processes. With over 50,000 participants, the GEF provided us with a space to exchange ideas and learn new ways of advocacy, and communications. Many success stories inspired and motivated us to continue our fight for gender equality. “The Generation Equality Forum marks a positive, historic shift in power and perspective” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. Throughout the programme, governments, women’s, feminist and youth-led organizations, international organizations, foundations and the private sector made their commitments. For example, UNFPA committed the development of SRHR in several East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific countries: 1) Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Laos & Philippines, 2) access to contraceptive services in Cambodia, Lao, People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Pacific Island Countries, Papua New Guinea, and 3) end female genital mutilation in Indonesia. Here, as a leader of SRHR, IPPF commits to work to accelerate universal access to safe abortion care centred on three principles: rights-based, reproductive justice and gender transformative. IPPF will also work with the Governments of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands to help realize universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights and CSE. What does the future look like? In the words of Dr Alvaro Bermejo, IPPF Director General, “…we want the GEF to be more than just an alliance committing to a set of beautiful and progressive words. We want action to make a difference in everyone’s life, especially the most forgotten women, adolescents and girls. And for that, we need a solid Accountability Framework, where all commitment makers report progress periodically. We want to develop effective monitoring mechanisms, to make sure that the GEF does not become a mere bouquet of empty promises.”   Sources: https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2021/7/news-gef-paris-action-coalitions-launch-commitments-for-gender-equality https://www.ippf.org/news/ippf-announces-new-commitments-sexual-and-reproductive-health-and-rights-srhr-generation https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/jun/30/billions-pledged-to-tackle-gender-inequality-at-un-forum

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| 01 July 2021

Generation Equality Asia-Pacific Regional Dialogue: Bodily Autonomy and SRHR

International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and UNFPA convened tenacious and dedicated leaders and frontliners working to safeguard bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health rights in crisis-affected communities throughout Asia-Pacific on June 3, 2021. Together, we renewed and inspired collective action to advance women and girls’ ability to exercise these rights as our region emerges from the devastating setbacks of COVID-19. This dialogue highlighted why sexual and reproductive health and rights is critical to gender equality and how we hope this dialogue will continue to catalyse productive collaborations to further progress the work of the Generation Equality Forum’s (GEF) Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights(SRHR).   IPPF AND GENERATION EQUALITY IPPF is proud to co-lead the Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy & SRHR at the Generation Equality Forum, a global gathering for gender equality. Find out more about our commitments here.   Event Summary  Recording: Watch the full event here. What we heard from our speakers: The COVID-19 pandemic has made what was already hard even more challenging: Disparities in access to sexual and reproductive health information and services for many women and girls have worsened drastically, especially for those in underserved communities and for those who face persistent stigma and discrimination. This has fundamental repercussions on the bodily autonomy of women and girls. His Excellency, Mr Roland Galharague, French Ambassador to Malaysia, underscored the need for - and France’s commitment to -a series of priorities in regard to ensuring the right to bodily autonomy: Comprehensive sexuality education for young people; improved availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of contraception and pregnancy termination services; and political and social measures so girls and women gain complete control over their own bodies.       Upala Devi, Regional Gender Technical Adviser, UNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional Office outlined the vision for the GEF Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and SRHR: To empower women and girls in all their diversity to exercise their SRHR and to make decisions about their bodies free from coercion, violence and discrimination. She urged all of us to become leaders or commitment-makers to further progress this vision. For further engagement in the Generation Equality Forum and realizing bodily autonomy and SRHR to advance gender equality, you can consider becoming a commitment maker. The commitment makers will be vital to a strong, vibrant and result-driven coalition of commitment-making partners to realize the four action areas. Please find more information about the Commitment Makers Model and the link to register your interest on the online platform.     Tomoko Fukuda, Regional Director, IPPF East & South East Asia and Oceania Region called upon civil society to help unpack the diverse challenges that women and girls face in accessing SRH services and to voice these needs to governments and other decision-makers. In doing so, we can prevent unintended pregnancies and thus improve women’s ability to gain control over their own lives.     Sivananthi Thanenthiran, Executive Director, The Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women - ARROW reflected on the history and changes of the feminist movement since Beijing and ICPD, sharing her hope that GEF captures the same momentum that grabbed the world’s attention nearly 30 years ago and created  countless critical changes for women’s equality. She reminds us that GEF and its Action Coalitions are an opportunity to push forward the “unfinished agenda of Beijing” and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ICPD Programme of Action.     Surakshya Giri, an inspirational youth activist from Nepal, requested Action Coalition partners to help address the gaps in flexible, culturally responsive, and youth-friendly comprehensive sexuality education, especially in socially excluded and underserved communities. She also calls on young people to play an active role in advancing gender equality and reproductive rights as torchbearers of ICPD and the SDGs.     Selai Cama Korovusere, Director for Women, Ministry of Women, Children & Poverty Alleviation, Fiji noted the Fijian Government’s collaboration with relevant stakeholders to put women and girls at the centre of national COVID-19 response plans ensuring to reach those left furthest behind while safeguarding and leveraging gains made on gender equality and women and girls' rights. There is an urgent need for gender data in the Pacific, including evidence on SRHR, to change attitudes and to inform policies for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.     Björn Andersson, Regional Director, UNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional Office highlighted that 40 per cent of women and girls in the Asia-Pacific region are robbed of their right to make simple but extremely consequential choices about their own bodies, and shared UNFPA’s long-standing efforts with governments, civil society and UN partners to tackle these challenges in the region.     And finally, our moderator, Tehmina Kaoosji, an independent broadcast journalist, gender activist, and media personality, Malaysia, offered a sliver of hope: The current spotlight on the increased and intersecting discriminations faced by women and girls as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic may be its silver lining. If harnessed, this heightened attention could make the achievement of gender equality more likely in our lifetimes.         What we heard from you:   Calling for progressive action from today’s leaders to pave the way for younger generations to take the lead in further realising women and girls’ bodily autonomy and SRHR. A profound interest in increased and concrete opportunities for collaboration between activists and civil society organisations working to advance women’s rights, bodily autonomy, and SRHR. A need for effective implementation of laws and international standards on these issues, and for them to be made more inclusive through community-level alliance building with diverse and intersecting actors. Invest in cross-cultural solutions to advance women and girls’ bodily autonomy and SRHR in settings with highly diverse populations.       Resources mentioned during the dialogue:   UNFPA's 2021 State of World Population Report, My Body is My Own: www.unfpa.org/SOWP-2021     More about the Generation Equality Forum:   The Generation Equality Forum opened in Mexico last March, and will culminate in Paris from 30 June to 2 July, 2021. Register here to gain access to the GEF's digital platform, to attend nearly 90 events featuring 500 panellists and interact with tens of thousands of participants from around the world.   UNFPA, IPPF, and ARROW, together with France and other governments, international organisations, private companies and philanthropies, and civil society and youth-led partners, constitute the leadership structure of the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.       

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| 01 July 2021

Generation Equality Asia-Pacific Regional Dialogue: Bodily Autonomy and SRHR

International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and UNFPA convened tenacious and dedicated leaders and frontliners working to safeguard bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health rights in crisis-affected communities throughout Asia-Pacific on June 3, 2021. Together, we renewed and inspired collective action to advance women and girls’ ability to exercise these rights as our region emerges from the devastating setbacks of COVID-19. This dialogue highlighted why sexual and reproductive health and rights is critical to gender equality and how we hope this dialogue will continue to catalyse productive collaborations to further progress the work of the Generation Equality Forum’s (GEF) Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights(SRHR).   IPPF AND GENERATION EQUALITY IPPF is proud to co-lead the Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy & SRHR at the Generation Equality Forum, a global gathering for gender equality. Find out more about our commitments here.   Event Summary  Recording: Watch the full event here. What we heard from our speakers: The COVID-19 pandemic has made what was already hard even more challenging: Disparities in access to sexual and reproductive health information and services for many women and girls have worsened drastically, especially for those in underserved communities and for those who face persistent stigma and discrimination. This has fundamental repercussions on the bodily autonomy of women and girls. His Excellency, Mr Roland Galharague, French Ambassador to Malaysia, underscored the need for - and France’s commitment to -a series of priorities in regard to ensuring the right to bodily autonomy: Comprehensive sexuality education for young people; improved availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of contraception and pregnancy termination services; and political and social measures so girls and women gain complete control over their own bodies.       Upala Devi, Regional Gender Technical Adviser, UNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional Office outlined the vision for the GEF Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and SRHR: To empower women and girls in all their diversity to exercise their SRHR and to make decisions about their bodies free from coercion, violence and discrimination. She urged all of us to become leaders or commitment-makers to further progress this vision. For further engagement in the Generation Equality Forum and realizing bodily autonomy and SRHR to advance gender equality, you can consider becoming a commitment maker. The commitment makers will be vital to a strong, vibrant and result-driven coalition of commitment-making partners to realize the four action areas. Please find more information about the Commitment Makers Model and the link to register your interest on the online platform.     Tomoko Fukuda, Regional Director, IPPF East & South East Asia and Oceania Region called upon civil society to help unpack the diverse challenges that women and girls face in accessing SRH services and to voice these needs to governments and other decision-makers. In doing so, we can prevent unintended pregnancies and thus improve women’s ability to gain control over their own lives.     Sivananthi Thanenthiran, Executive Director, The Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women - ARROW reflected on the history and changes of the feminist movement since Beijing and ICPD, sharing her hope that GEF captures the same momentum that grabbed the world’s attention nearly 30 years ago and created  countless critical changes for women’s equality. She reminds us that GEF and its Action Coalitions are an opportunity to push forward the “unfinished agenda of Beijing” and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ICPD Programme of Action.     Surakshya Giri, an inspirational youth activist from Nepal, requested Action Coalition partners to help address the gaps in flexible, culturally responsive, and youth-friendly comprehensive sexuality education, especially in socially excluded and underserved communities. She also calls on young people to play an active role in advancing gender equality and reproductive rights as torchbearers of ICPD and the SDGs.     Selai Cama Korovusere, Director for Women, Ministry of Women, Children & Poverty Alleviation, Fiji noted the Fijian Government’s collaboration with relevant stakeholders to put women and girls at the centre of national COVID-19 response plans ensuring to reach those left furthest behind while safeguarding and leveraging gains made on gender equality and women and girls' rights. There is an urgent need for gender data in the Pacific, including evidence on SRHR, to change attitudes and to inform policies for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.     Björn Andersson, Regional Director, UNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional Office highlighted that 40 per cent of women and girls in the Asia-Pacific region are robbed of their right to make simple but extremely consequential choices about their own bodies, and shared UNFPA’s long-standing efforts with governments, civil society and UN partners to tackle these challenges in the region.     And finally, our moderator, Tehmina Kaoosji, an independent broadcast journalist, gender activist, and media personality, Malaysia, offered a sliver of hope: The current spotlight on the increased and intersecting discriminations faced by women and girls as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic may be its silver lining. If harnessed, this heightened attention could make the achievement of gender equality more likely in our lifetimes.         What we heard from you:   Calling for progressive action from today’s leaders to pave the way for younger generations to take the lead in further realising women and girls’ bodily autonomy and SRHR. A profound interest in increased and concrete opportunities for collaboration between activists and civil society organisations working to advance women’s rights, bodily autonomy, and SRHR. A need for effective implementation of laws and international standards on these issues, and for them to be made more inclusive through community-level alliance building with diverse and intersecting actors. Invest in cross-cultural solutions to advance women and girls’ bodily autonomy and SRHR in settings with highly diverse populations.       Resources mentioned during the dialogue:   UNFPA's 2021 State of World Population Report, My Body is My Own: www.unfpa.org/SOWP-2021     More about the Generation Equality Forum:   The Generation Equality Forum opened in Mexico last March, and will culminate in Paris from 30 June to 2 July, 2021. Register here to gain access to the GEF's digital platform, to attend nearly 90 events featuring 500 panellists and interact with tens of thousands of participants from around the world.   UNFPA, IPPF, and ARROW, together with France and other governments, international organisations, private companies and philanthropies, and civil society and youth-led partners, constitute the leadership structure of the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.       

SGBV Fundamental training news
news item

| 19 March 2021

SGBV Fundamentals training successfully rolled out across all IPPF Pacific Member Associations

People all over the world are facing the reality of the climate crisis – in many parts of the world this is manifesting in an increased volatility of extreme weather events. Risks of sexual and gender-based violence are heightened during humanitarian crises and in times of displacement. Both can be expected to increase as a result of more severe and frequent extreme weather events and the slow onset effects of the climate crisis, such as sea level rise. The Pacific Region is home to some of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, including Vanuatu and Tonga, rated as the first and second most ‘at-risk’ countries in the world for natural hazards. A recent report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) presents data from the largest ever study of the prevalence of violence against women. While the numbers reveal already alarmingly high rates of violence against women and girls, WHO and partners warn that the COVID-19 pandemic has further increased women’s exposure to violence, as a result of measures such as lockdowns and disruptions to vital support services. The same report found that the region of Oceania (which includes the Pacific) has the highest prevalence rates of intimate partner violence among women aged 15-49 in the world: 51% in Melanesia, 41% in Micronesia, and 39% in Polynesia.  IPPF’s Member Associations (MAs) across the Pacific have been providing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care to women and girls for decades. There is a close intersection between SRH care and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) care, as it is often the medical personnel who provide women with SRH who are in the best position to identify – and then provide services or refer – SGBV cases. A growing need for SGBV training for our MAs who operate in humanitarian settings was recognised by IPPF. With support from the Australian Government, IPPF developed an in-house training package – the SGBV Fundamentals Training - that has now been successfully rolled out to all nine MAs across the Pacific Region. The SGBV Fundamentals training material was developed by the IPPF Humanitarian Pacific team utilising resources from the WHO Health care for women subjected to intimate partner violence or sexual violence, IASC Guidelines for Integrating Gender-Based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action and UNFPA material as an introduction to the Gender, SGBV, and first-line support. The SGBV Fundamentals Training targets management, clinical and program staff, and is delivered over four days as an in-house training to build staff’s capacity to deliver first-line support to SGBV survivors. One of the MAs that took part in IPPF’s SGBV Fundamentals Training was the Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association (SIPPA), which was established in 1980 and is the leading SRHR organization in the country.   Due to the wide reach of services SIPPA provides across the country, in preparedness for humanitarian events, SIPPA identified the need to strengthen the capacity of all its staff to respond to SGBV in emergencies. The focus was to equip clinical, program and volunteer staff to provide first-line SGBV support in emergency and stable times. In order to provide such services, the training addressed the foundation skills and knowledge of SGBV and how this enables the first-line support approach. The training took place over three days, and included 16 staff members, including clinical staff.   Ben Angoa, Executive Director of SIPPA, speaks of the SGBV situation in the Solomon Islands: “From what I have seen and experienced through providing services, it’s a pressing issue that needs to be carefully looked at. For us, it’s quite alarming and something that the government should be considering as high priority”.   “For the past two years, most of the clients I see are girls/students under the age of 24. Their parents bring them in. They have experienced sexual violence and the parents are worried they might be pregnant. We have a very strong partnership with the Christian Care Centre, so most of their cases are referred to us. We also have people from the community where we have been doing awareness of SGBV to bring survivors directly to our clinic. People are feeling more comfortable coming to our clinic due to the set-up, environment and the sort of quality services our nurses provide.”  SIPPA is part of the SafeNet programme in the Solomon Islands, so they have a referral pathway to the police and to social welfare if clients decide they want to pursue the case with the police. SafeNet is a network of government and non-government organizations in the country working on new ways to improve quality services for survivors of SGBV.   Mr Angoa explains “We were accepted in 2018 to be part of the SafeNet programme. They gave us two mandates: SGBV awareness and clinical services. We were so fortunate to have the training from IPPF, it really helped us set the direction and see how important our services are. Without that training, although we became a member of SafeNet, we really didn’t provide quality services in that area. After the training, our nurses knew everything about GBV, even our volunteers knew about GBV. Some of our clients hide themselves from being a victim. But during the clinical visits we would do awareness with them and some of our cases were discovered during that time. It would be difficult for other service providers to set up the right environment, for us what makes the client more comfortable is our clinic”.   SIPPA’s clinic set-up includes a gate outside and the facility is full fenced, they have security, and clients have to pass through the administration area before they get to the clinic. They have five rooms that are able to be locked. “Others cannot hear you inside the rooms as they are so protected. So, the set-up is quite different from other [organisations]. Other members from SafeNet admire our set up,” says Mr Angoa.    After the SGBV Fundamentals Training in 2018, nurses and other medical personnel gained knowledge on how to ask questions to ascertain if a client is experiencing SGBV. “It is from the training that our staff learned how to identify people who were affected by SGBV. Before it was disorganised, but now we have a proper system for SGBV cases; this is the channel we need to follow. We take suspected SGBV cases out to the back of the clinic and send them straight to the nurse that we have appointed as our focal SGBV person. We started to improve our ways of providing services and looking after the survivors and ask about their safety – is it okay for you to go back to your family? This is where the referral pathway network comes in,” says Mr Angoa.   Apart from the Solomon Islands, the SGBV Fundamentals Training was rolled out in Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. A recent survey of participants asked what their top learning outcomes were, with many respondents citing the fact they are now able to identify different types of violence (physical, sexual and psychological), the importance of referral pathways, eliminating victim blaming, how to speak to survivors in a sensitive manner, and the importance of confidentiality and trust.   One survey respondent said, “Before, I always thought SGBV was the responsibility of other agencies. Since learning about SGBV, I now understand where I stand and how I should work around the issue. For example, I now have the confidence in identifying survivors, and in counselling survivors, and providing support for them.”   IPPF has plans to build upon this training, by enabling first-line support provision through mentoring and building on the concepts covered in the SGBV Fundamentals. IPPF will also be supporting MAs to strengthen their clinical operations and networks to ensure safe, coordinated referrals can be offered to survivors of SGBV.  It is indisputable that SGBV is linked to negative SRH outcomes for women and girls, and with the rising number of climate related disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating conditions that can lead to violence, it’s even more imperative that our MAs are equipped to respond to SGBV.   As one respondent answered: “As a program facilitator, I learnt from this training that delivering the right information will help save a life”. 

SGBV Fundamental training news
news_item

| 19 March 2021

SGBV Fundamentals training successfully rolled out across all IPPF Pacific Member Associations

People all over the world are facing the reality of the climate crisis – in many parts of the world this is manifesting in an increased volatility of extreme weather events. Risks of sexual and gender-based violence are heightened during humanitarian crises and in times of displacement. Both can be expected to increase as a result of more severe and frequent extreme weather events and the slow onset effects of the climate crisis, such as sea level rise. The Pacific Region is home to some of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, including Vanuatu and Tonga, rated as the first and second most ‘at-risk’ countries in the world for natural hazards. A recent report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) presents data from the largest ever study of the prevalence of violence against women. While the numbers reveal already alarmingly high rates of violence against women and girls, WHO and partners warn that the COVID-19 pandemic has further increased women’s exposure to violence, as a result of measures such as lockdowns and disruptions to vital support services. The same report found that the region of Oceania (which includes the Pacific) has the highest prevalence rates of intimate partner violence among women aged 15-49 in the world: 51% in Melanesia, 41% in Micronesia, and 39% in Polynesia.  IPPF’s Member Associations (MAs) across the Pacific have been providing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care to women and girls for decades. There is a close intersection between SRH care and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) care, as it is often the medical personnel who provide women with SRH who are in the best position to identify – and then provide services or refer – SGBV cases. A growing need for SGBV training for our MAs who operate in humanitarian settings was recognised by IPPF. With support from the Australian Government, IPPF developed an in-house training package – the SGBV Fundamentals Training - that has now been successfully rolled out to all nine MAs across the Pacific Region. The SGBV Fundamentals training material was developed by the IPPF Humanitarian Pacific team utilising resources from the WHO Health care for women subjected to intimate partner violence or sexual violence, IASC Guidelines for Integrating Gender-Based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action and UNFPA material as an introduction to the Gender, SGBV, and first-line support. The SGBV Fundamentals Training targets management, clinical and program staff, and is delivered over four days as an in-house training to build staff’s capacity to deliver first-line support to SGBV survivors. One of the MAs that took part in IPPF’s SGBV Fundamentals Training was the Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association (SIPPA), which was established in 1980 and is the leading SRHR organization in the country.   Due to the wide reach of services SIPPA provides across the country, in preparedness for humanitarian events, SIPPA identified the need to strengthen the capacity of all its staff to respond to SGBV in emergencies. The focus was to equip clinical, program and volunteer staff to provide first-line SGBV support in emergency and stable times. In order to provide such services, the training addressed the foundation skills and knowledge of SGBV and how this enables the first-line support approach. The training took place over three days, and included 16 staff members, including clinical staff.   Ben Angoa, Executive Director of SIPPA, speaks of the SGBV situation in the Solomon Islands: “From what I have seen and experienced through providing services, it’s a pressing issue that needs to be carefully looked at. For us, it’s quite alarming and something that the government should be considering as high priority”.   “For the past two years, most of the clients I see are girls/students under the age of 24. Their parents bring them in. They have experienced sexual violence and the parents are worried they might be pregnant. We have a very strong partnership with the Christian Care Centre, so most of their cases are referred to us. We also have people from the community where we have been doing awareness of SGBV to bring survivors directly to our clinic. People are feeling more comfortable coming to our clinic due to the set-up, environment and the sort of quality services our nurses provide.”  SIPPA is part of the SafeNet programme in the Solomon Islands, so they have a referral pathway to the police and to social welfare if clients decide they want to pursue the case with the police. SafeNet is a network of government and non-government organizations in the country working on new ways to improve quality services for survivors of SGBV.   Mr Angoa explains “We were accepted in 2018 to be part of the SafeNet programme. They gave us two mandates: SGBV awareness and clinical services. We were so fortunate to have the training from IPPF, it really helped us set the direction and see how important our services are. Without that training, although we became a member of SafeNet, we really didn’t provide quality services in that area. After the training, our nurses knew everything about GBV, even our volunteers knew about GBV. Some of our clients hide themselves from being a victim. But during the clinical visits we would do awareness with them and some of our cases were discovered during that time. It would be difficult for other service providers to set up the right environment, for us what makes the client more comfortable is our clinic”.   SIPPA’s clinic set-up includes a gate outside and the facility is full fenced, they have security, and clients have to pass through the administration area before they get to the clinic. They have five rooms that are able to be locked. “Others cannot hear you inside the rooms as they are so protected. So, the set-up is quite different from other [organisations]. Other members from SafeNet admire our set up,” says Mr Angoa.    After the SGBV Fundamentals Training in 2018, nurses and other medical personnel gained knowledge on how to ask questions to ascertain if a client is experiencing SGBV. “It is from the training that our staff learned how to identify people who were affected by SGBV. Before it was disorganised, but now we have a proper system for SGBV cases; this is the channel we need to follow. We take suspected SGBV cases out to the back of the clinic and send them straight to the nurse that we have appointed as our focal SGBV person. We started to improve our ways of providing services and looking after the survivors and ask about their safety – is it okay for you to go back to your family? This is where the referral pathway network comes in,” says Mr Angoa.   Apart from the Solomon Islands, the SGBV Fundamentals Training was rolled out in Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. A recent survey of participants asked what their top learning outcomes were, with many respondents citing the fact they are now able to identify different types of violence (physical, sexual and psychological), the importance of referral pathways, eliminating victim blaming, how to speak to survivors in a sensitive manner, and the importance of confidentiality and trust.   One survey respondent said, “Before, I always thought SGBV was the responsibility of other agencies. Since learning about SGBV, I now understand where I stand and how I should work around the issue. For example, I now have the confidence in identifying survivors, and in counselling survivors, and providing support for them.”   IPPF has plans to build upon this training, by enabling first-line support provision through mentoring and building on the concepts covered in the SGBV Fundamentals. IPPF will also be supporting MAs to strengthen their clinical operations and networks to ensure safe, coordinated referrals can be offered to survivors of SGBV.  It is indisputable that SGBV is linked to negative SRH outcomes for women and girls, and with the rising number of climate related disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating conditions that can lead to violence, it’s even more imperative that our MAs are equipped to respond to SGBV.   As one respondent answered: “As a program facilitator, I learnt from this training that delivering the right information will help save a life”. 

Women's Rights are Human Rights
news item

| 29 January 2021

IPPF welcomes President Biden’s decision to repeal the Global Gag Rule

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) welcomes the news of President Biden’s decision to keep his promise and repeal the harmful Global Gag Rule (GGR) – also known as the Mexico City Policy. Since its expanded reintroduction in 2017 by the previous administration, the Global Gag Rule has contributed to an increase in unintended and high-risk pregnancies, unsafe abortions – culminating in unnecessary maternal deaths. For IPPF, 53 healthcare projects in 32 countries were impacted by GGR, with some Member Associations losing up to 60% of their funding. IPPF’s Director-General, Dr Alvaro Bermejo said: “I welcome the decision by President Biden to repeal the Global Gag Rule."   “The expanded reintroduction of the gag was callously designed to deny women the right to decide what happens to their body. Whilst we know this policy is intended as a tool to attack abortion care by the anti-choice movement, not only has it led to reproductive coercion, cut deeper into healthcare provision: from HIV prevention programs to maternal health to contraceptive access – no one was spared the fallout of this policy.   “What lies ahead of us is years of work to undo the harm caused by Global Gag Rule, and to build back a better and stronger relationship with the U.S. – one where our work is not under threat from future anti-sexual and reproductive health administrations. To protect the rights of future generations of women and girls, we ask that the Biden-Harris administration take the necessary steps to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. Without a permanent repeal, the global gag remains a constant threat to women, girls, youth and marginalized communities. Reproductive rights, bodily autonomy and the human right to decide what happens to your body cannot be at the mercy of a pen stroke.   “IPPF looks on with hope and welcomes the opportunity to work closely with the Biden-Harris administration to protect and advance sexual and reproductive healthcare for all.”   And President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Alexis McGill Johnson said:   “Over the past four years, the United States didn’t just fail to support global reproductive health care access – it actively blocked it. Today, we applaud the beginning of a new chapter, as the Biden-Harris administration puts an end to the devastating global gag rule, which has prevented millions of people around the world from receiving essential health care. We look forward to working alongside the administration and Congress to pass the Global HER Act, to permanently protect access to sexual and reproductive health care across the globe from changes in White House political control. It is long past time that the United States proudly declares to the world that reproductive rights are human rights.”   IPPF would like to thank the international community who stepped in and stepped up to help fill the funding gap that was left by the Global Gag Rule. Together, we will continue to fight and deliver sexual and reproductive health and rights. For media inquiries please contact [email protected](+44) 2079398227

Women's Rights are Human Rights
news_item

| 29 January 2021

IPPF welcomes President Biden’s decision to repeal the Global Gag Rule

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) welcomes the news of President Biden’s decision to keep his promise and repeal the harmful Global Gag Rule (GGR) – also known as the Mexico City Policy. Since its expanded reintroduction in 2017 by the previous administration, the Global Gag Rule has contributed to an increase in unintended and high-risk pregnancies, unsafe abortions – culminating in unnecessary maternal deaths. For IPPF, 53 healthcare projects in 32 countries were impacted by GGR, with some Member Associations losing up to 60% of their funding. IPPF’s Director-General, Dr Alvaro Bermejo said: “I welcome the decision by President Biden to repeal the Global Gag Rule."   “The expanded reintroduction of the gag was callously designed to deny women the right to decide what happens to their body. Whilst we know this policy is intended as a tool to attack abortion care by the anti-choice movement, not only has it led to reproductive coercion, cut deeper into healthcare provision: from HIV prevention programs to maternal health to contraceptive access – no one was spared the fallout of this policy.   “What lies ahead of us is years of work to undo the harm caused by Global Gag Rule, and to build back a better and stronger relationship with the U.S. – one where our work is not under threat from future anti-sexual and reproductive health administrations. To protect the rights of future generations of women and girls, we ask that the Biden-Harris administration take the necessary steps to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. Without a permanent repeal, the global gag remains a constant threat to women, girls, youth and marginalized communities. Reproductive rights, bodily autonomy and the human right to decide what happens to your body cannot be at the mercy of a pen stroke.   “IPPF looks on with hope and welcomes the opportunity to work closely with the Biden-Harris administration to protect and advance sexual and reproductive healthcare for all.”   And President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Alexis McGill Johnson said:   “Over the past four years, the United States didn’t just fail to support global reproductive health care access – it actively blocked it. Today, we applaud the beginning of a new chapter, as the Biden-Harris administration puts an end to the devastating global gag rule, which has prevented millions of people around the world from receiving essential health care. We look forward to working alongside the administration and Congress to pass the Global HER Act, to permanently protect access to sexual and reproductive health care across the globe from changes in White House political control. It is long past time that the United States proudly declares to the world that reproductive rights are human rights.”   IPPF would like to thank the international community who stepped in and stepped up to help fill the funding gap that was left by the Global Gag Rule. Together, we will continue to fight and deliver sexual and reproductive health and rights. For media inquiries please contact [email protected](+44) 2079398227